fair-weather friend: A friend who supports others only when it is easy and convenient to do so; A person who is dependable in good times but is not in times of trouble.
I never realized until recent months just how many friends I had that fit the exact definition. Funny how major life changes bring out the best (or the worst) in some people.
I’d say half the the people that I counted as my friends were people I worked with. We all spent so much time together, and the crew that I worked with for the last several years was so incredibly great…we were like a family. When things at work got horrendously bad and we all threatened to quit at various times, none of us ever did because we knew we’d miss the other girls. It’s rare to have that many women work together and not have cattiness.
We went to movies on the weekends, we went out to dinners for birthdays, we went to karaoke bars, we went on all girls only beach trips. All our husbands eventually got to know each other, and with the exception of a couple, they all got along great. They helped JB plan (and keep secret) my surprise birthday party last year. We were a happy little family. Work sucked a$$ most of the time, but we were all there together.
Then last summer, I announced to the girls that we were moving. They all cried with me and begged for JB to find another job closer to home. They threw me a big going away party, both at work and then again just before our moving day.
The first several weeks after we got moved into the new house, not seeing or talking to them every day really started to get to me. I’d call them at work and just talk, usually once a week. There was always a few of them that I could never manage to get on the phone, either at work or home. Even then, in the back of my mind, I was thinking “Why is this seeming like a one way street?” I’d get invites to birthday dinners (even though obviously, I couldn’t usually go because most of them were during the week). And then the birthday dinner invites started turning into going away parties for different people. At last count, 5 of the girls had left since I moved away.
The first few months after our move, we seemed to spend just as much time on the road back to our hometown as we did in our new home. I kept trying to get arrangements made to see my friends in between spending time with family. It’s very difficult to get stuff planned for 11 people with jobs and families, and I knew it was likely that I’d just be able to get a couple at a time. And that was okay. For a while.
Out of the ten girls that I once counted as my best friends, my second family, you want to guess how many of them are still “around” now? THREE. There’s three others that I get occasional random text messages and emails from, and then one of those sent me a box full of my favorite candy at Christmas. There’s two that have not spoken to me since late October.
In February, we had a big cookout for my son’s birthday in our hometown. I sent invites out to ALL of them. Only one of them showed up, my BFF Mel. Shan was coming, but her baby was sick. Amy was out of town. Bev had a death in the family. The rest of them never even acknowledged they got the invitation at all. I was hurt, but tried to get around it by saying, “Well, it did freakin’ snow yesterday, maybe they couldn’t get out.” Duh.
I made another attempt a few weeks later. We were making a quick, quiet trip into town and I emailed all of them about getting together for dinner while I was there. Only got responses from Mel, Shan, Amy, and Jen. When the time came, Jen didn’t make it for whatever reason, and I honestly don’t recall talking to her since then. Of course, I hear she’s suddenly stuck up one of the other girl’s butts so far that I couldn’t possibly matter these days.
As much as my feelings were hurt, I told myself that night during dinner that I was done. I was done reaching out to people who evidently only wanted me around while I was conveniently located. I guess that decision came pretty soon after Shan mentioned the annual girl’s beach trip. Which, as you can probably guess, I knew nothing about. Shan and Amy were shocked that no one had mentioned it to me, but I wasn’t, and I told them that certain people who usually planned the trips had not spoken to me since the Halloween party.
Amy and her husband were actually in our city a couple weeks ago, and we got together for dinner while they were here. Mel told me last week that they are planning to spend their vacation here when the kids get out of school. Shan wants to get here but has a hard time getting their work schedules to allow it just yet.
And these days, those three are the only ones I really care about anyway. I don’t have time for people who don’t have time for me.